Ego psychology is a school of psychoanalysis that originated in Sigmund Freud's ego-id-superego model.
After Freud, a number of prominent psychoanalytic theorists began to elaborate on Freud's functionalist version of the ego.
They put much effort into theorizing the ego's various functions and how they can be impaired in psychopathology.
Much of their work focused around strengthening the ego so it could better cope with the pressures from the id, super-ego, and society in general.
The central functions of the ego were traditionally seen as reality-testing, impulse-control, judgment, affect tolerance, defence, and synthetic functioning.
An important conceptual revision to Freud's structural theory was made when Heinz Hartmann argued that the healthy ego includes a sphere of autonomous ego functions that are independent of mental conflict.
Memory, motor coordination, and reality-testing, for example, ought to be able to function without the intrusion of emotional conflict.
According to Hartmann, psychoanalytic treatment aims to expand the conflict-free sphere of ego functioning.
By doing so, Hartmann believed, psychoanalysis facilitates adaptation, that is, more effective mutual regulation of ego and environment.